Linkin Park rapper Mike Shinoda has spent the last six months raising funds for tsunami victims, designing a line of DC shoes, co-authoring a book and establishing a scholarship at his alma mater, the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. And what did he do in his off time? Not much. He only recorded a solo album.
While backstage at last month's Music for Relief: Rebuilding South Asia concert (see "Linkin Park, Jay-Z, No Doubt Rock The House To Rebuild South Asia"), the workhorse MC/producer told MTV News that he's been keeping busy with a hip-hop-tinged side project that he hopes won't offend Linkin Park's guitar-lovin' fanbase.
"It's not straight hip-hop, but it's not rock at all. For our fans who only like the rock side of Linkin Park, I hope you enjoy it, but you never know," he said. "I am playing every instrument on there, but it's not really about me. I'm featuring a lot of great MCs that are friends of mine. I want to work with people that I'm friends with, that I get along with. I'm not just going to go out there and grab whoever's hot at the moment."
Shinoda said that Common and the Roots' Black Thought are just two of the MCs on the album, which at the moment has no release date or working title. But he did explain that he is producing every track on the disc, and to complement the A-list talent he's lined up, he's been burning the midnight oil to make sure the beats are up to snuff.
"I'm trying to get the music up to what we want it to be. It's pressure, because I'm producing it," he laughed. "I want to connect with people I see eye-to-eye with, and make great music. Like I said, it's not really about me."